January 18, 2008

Cool Tools: AdCracker

Check out this site:

According to the site, AdCracker is “an interactive tool for Creative Directors, Copywriters, Art Directors - and all those who create, sell or teach persuasive communications.”

The site is chock full of interesting advice and articles for free though some premium content can be accessed with a subscription.

Some of the interesting features on the website include a listing of the top 10 ads worldwide, a listing of 42 ad techniques, and a number of ad tools including articles that help explain concepts in advertising such as creative briefs, branding, direct, and positioning, strategy, and theory. I like their “Brand as a Person” article which reviews how Apple and IBM have approached anthropomorphizing their brands (think Apple’s Mac and PC characters driven commercials).

AdCracker offers a nice overview of the processes and concepts that professional advertisers use in an everyday work environment. For aspiring advertisers, the website is useful for becoming acquainted with terms and concepts relevant to the advertising business.

January 11, 2008

Chipotle's "30 Seconds of Fame" Contest

Recently, Chipotle held their second annual “30 Seconds of Fame” contest which had schools competing to see who could produce the best 30-second commercial. The spots were judged by Chipotle’s internal marketing group and scoring was based on originality, creativity, and consistency with Chipotle’s brand name.

Teams from Chapman University and Northern Illinois University tied for first place, beating out 45 other advertisements. They will split the $30,000 prize. The videos, including the wining entries, can be found at

University of Illinois students Chris Darkes, Brittany Samson, Sara Honchar and Joe Giorgio produced one of the winning videos, titled “Just the Fax.” Darkes shared his experience with Black Turtle Media. “This is going to sound really crazy, but the idea actually came to me in a dream after I was thinking about possible commercial ideas” he says.

Asked about the production process, Darkes says, “It consisted of me sketching out a storyboard so the others could follow. After that, we planned the shots, and shot for about five hours. A few nights later we edited the piece to fit the [time] guidelines.” Darkes and his team were pleased with the final result. “It had a really good payoff at the end, the shots were precise and it looked really professional.”

Darkes says that winning the contest has increased the group’s confidence and is a strong boost to their resumes. After college, Darkes plans to go out to California and pursue a career in acting and possibly directing.

Darkes offers the following advice to fellow contest commercial directors: “If you think you have a great idea, storyboard it out and do everything you can to keep it the way you want. Everyone has creativity; some people just don't know it. And make it look professional.”

January 7, 2008

Super Bowl 2008

The Super Bowl is coming up in just a few weeks. So why are we talking about it here on Black Turtle Media? Is it because we think the Patriots will continue to dominate? Is it because we hope T.O. will be put in his place? No, although that is true.

We’re talking about the Super Bowl because in addition to being the largest sporting event of the year, it is also the largest advertising event of the year. The Super Bowl has become an annual event in advertising where companies pay millions of dollars to get their ads played to record-number audiences. Advertisers often debut their most well-produced, creative, and alluring ads during this special day.

This year, the advertising seems to be playing a larger role than in years past. 90 percent of the ads for the Super Bowl this year were sold out by October 31. And the price per 30-second spot peaked at about $2.7 million.

What kind of commercials are we to expect this year? There are surely to be advertisements for the new Batman and Indiana Jones movies. And rumor has it that Brad Pitt will be taking over for the Dell guy and creating a commercial for the famous computer company.

While we can only predict what we’ll see this year, you can view the work of years’ past. For a chance to view the creative campaigns that have hit the Super Bowl the past few years visit where you can view a large collection of Super Bowl ads.

January 2, 2008

Study the Best to be the Best

If you’re looking to break into any creative business, you’ve got look to the established creatives in the field for guidance. You’ve got to have an idea in mind of the work you’d like to be producing. To become the best, you must study the best. What better work to study than that of award winners?

The D&AD Awards recognize the biggest and the best in design and advertising, rewarding outstanding creativity and the highest standard of design and innovation. Their website at has listed the work of their previous award winners so everyone has a chance to view it. The type of creative work is varied and includes television advertising, music videos, graphic design, illustration, and poster advertising.

Ad:Tech is another good one to review. An interactive advertising and technology conference, Ad:Tech is dedicated to connecting all sides of the brand marketing landscape. The Ad:Tech Awards are designed to highlight the best advertising each year. The winners of the 2007 awards can be found at Categories include everything from best word-of-mouth marketing to best display advertisement.

When viewing the award winners it is important to study the techniques they use and the level of professionalism they apply to their material. It is most important to find ways that you can emulate the professionalism of their videos while adding your own unique style.